New research which saw MPs polled on social care has found that three out of five politicians say people in their constituencies are suffering because of cuts to social care, with three quarters saying there is a crisis in care in England.
The poll of MPs was conducted by ComRes and commissioned by the NHS Confederation, which is leading Health for Care – a group of national health organisations calling on Government to end the crisis in social care.
The report, Crisis in care: what do MPs think? also found that:
- Two thirds of MPs (65%) say the number of people in their constituencies coming to them with concerns over social care has increased during their time in office, with nearly half (46%) saying it has increased significantly.
- Concern was highest among MPs in the north of England where two thirds (62%) of MPs strongly agreed that their constituents are suffering because of cuts to care.
- There is little faith among MPs that the green paper will improve standards of social care provision – only half (49%) agree it will.
- More than half (58%) of Conservative MPs agreed there is a crisis in the sector.
The research saw a total of 138 MPs polled on social care to ascertain their views.
Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation said, 'The scandal of social care in this country is leaving record numbers of vulnerable people to struggle every day without the basic care and support they need. And millions of family carers are exhausted and at the end of their tether.
'The most striking finding from this research is the sheer number of MPs who agree that there is a crisis in social care, alongside the vast numbers who have noticed a significant increase in care problems and cases raised by their constituents.
'However, there is a marked lack of political consensus on how to solve the problem. This simply isn’t good enough considering this is the greatest social challenge of our time. The Prime Minister came to power promising to fix the crisis in care but failed – her successor cannot afford to do the same. The social care system needs urgent funding and support in the short term and a long-term solution delivered as part of the next Spending Review. Now is the time for MPs of all parties to work together to agree a solution that ends the unfairness faced by thousands of people every day.'
While there is consensus among MPs about there being a crisis in care, politicians are evenly split in their support across four potential solutions, with each attracting about a fifth of MPs’ support. These are:
- Introducing free personal care (21%).
- An auto-enrolment insurance system (20%).
- A cap on costs and a revised ‘floor’ to the means test – a variant of the Dilnot proposal (19%).
- Improving the current system (18%).
Broken down by the two main political parties, Conservative MPs are most likely to support the option of an auto-enrolment insurance system (30%) and Labour MPs are most likely to support the introduction of free personal care (40%).